Cartoon guide Professor Astrocat and his animal team take readers on an in-depth tour of the major functions and components of the human body.
Walliman and Newman have the astro-animals explore the body by using a cartoon version of Walliman himself as the subject. The book starts at the very beginning—what it means to be alive—and progresses with just enough detail through complicated structures and processes. The astro-animals use some fictionalized devices, such as a “ ‘particle reduction’ orb,” to shrink down and really get inside the body. It’s gimmicky but cute, much like the space-suited animals themselves. Overall, the book is very well-organized. Each page or double-page layout is limited to one topic. Newman’s illustrations are consistently bold and inviting, and the comic-book look both appeals to young readers and maintains the flow. Some pages do require time to decipher, as with a called-out detail with a cross-section of a tooth that feels dissociated from the overall spread. Fun factoids are included organically. A respectfully scientific approach to reproduction and growing up satisfies curiosity while allowing for follow-up conversation. The final “future science” pages will give eager readers plenty of fascinating topics for further research. Though subject “Walliman” is white, other humans depicted are diverse.
This eye-catching book makes the complicated human body much less so while still providing enough detail to allow readers to linger and explore. (combined glossary-index.) (Nonfiction. 9-12)